How to clean a window fan

 

When we were packing up our apartment to get ready for our big trip across town, my roommates and I tried to be really thorough. In previous years, we have all waited until the last minute to put things in boxes and then faced a nightmare when it came time to move, and an even bigger one when we had to unpack. So this year, we resolved to do a good job.

We packed everything up, and even painted. Last night the three of us went around the place packing up miscellaneous items, feeling like we were really on track for a stress-free move. But that's when I realized that the our air conditioner was still sitting in the kitchen window. Of course we wanted to bring it along with us, but I had no idea how to pack it.

Since I wasn't sure how to go about this task, I called in an expert. My friend Gabe makes extra money in the summer by working as a mover, so I figured that he would be the perfect person to ask about the best way to transport a window air conditioner.

Gabe told me that I should turn my AC off right away, because the coils would need plenty of time to cool before I handled it. He said to wait a few hours, and then unplug and remove the unit from the window with help from a friend. Gabe told me  that I should coil the cord, and tape it to the side of the appliance to keep it out of the way.

Luckily, I thought to keep the original box that my air conditioner came in, which meant that I didn't have to search for something to put it in. He said I should wrap it in something soft, like an old towel, so that it didn't slide around, and then put it in the box.

With Gabe's advice, my air conditioner survived the move perfectly!

A great way to clean a window fan

A great way to clean a window fan

Today is the last day of my lease. My roommate and I have decided to move into a nicer apartment across town, and we couldn't be more excited. We spent all of last night packing up stray items and making sure that the apartment was clean for its next inhabitants, which was exhausting. 

When I went to take it my window fan out, I was really surprised to see how dirty the electric fan had become. While it kept me cool for the majority of the summer, a kind of sticky dust had developed on it, mixing moisture and dirt from outside with dust and dry air from inside. Needless to say, it had seen better days. 

Since I was planning on using this trusty appliance in my next apartment as well, I was disappointed when I saw how gross it had gotten from being in the window. I tried to run a damp rag over it, thinking that I could dust it like any other object. But the scalloped edges of the fan eluded me, and most of the dust stayed put. Then I decided to look online and see if anyone had advice.

I found out from doing this research that my particular model actually comes apart. I was able to take the front piece right off of the fan, which gave me much better access to the problematic grooves that were giving me such a hard time before. I could then wipe the fan down, and got almost the whole thing clean this way.

But there were still some little corners with pesky pockets of dust that I was having trouble with. I ended up using a can of compressed air to blast the dust away, and that worked really well! I'm so excited, because now I can enjoy the newness of my apartment and the new feeling of my fan too!

Using a humidifier can help ease dry skin

I'm about ready for the cold weather to set in, but I know that as soon as the air turns crisp for fall, my skin will become dry and flaky. Not only is this unsightly, but it's also uncomfortable. I feel like all winter I'm scratching my itchy dry skin!

To fix my dry skin issue, I'm always careful to use a moisturizer. This helps to keep my skin from drying out too much, and at least gets rid of some of the annoying itch. But even though I carry it with me in my purse during the cold, dry winter, it has never entirely fixed the problem.

In the fall of last year, when my skin started getting drier because of the cool weather, I complained to my friend Suzanne about my quandry. She's really crafty, and is a great problem solver, plus, even if she can't fix my issue, she's a great listener. I didn't know what I was going to do, even though it was shaping up to be a mild winter, the dry air in my office was making my skin even drier than usual.

Suzanne listened to me, and to my surprise, she had more than just sympathy. She told me about how her mom has always suffered from dry skin, and uses a humidifier to fix the problem.

She suggested that I try turning on my humidifier while I was asleep, and after I came home from work. I thought that I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a shot. And I was thrilled to find out that it made a real difference in my skin. Now that I know this solution to my dry skin issue, I'm not afraid of cold weather anymore.

How to add fresh air to a windowless space

My friend Jason moved into his first apartment a little over a week ago. He's very excited about the prospect of living on his own for the first time, even if it means that he's going to have to do his own dishes.

All of the rooms in the apartment are very nice and well-ventilated, but the space has one quirk: the living room is located in the center of the apartment, and has no windows at all.

When they were apartment hunting, Jason and his roommates didn't think that this would be an issue, but now that they have moved in, they're noticing that this room usually feels stuffy because there is really no airflow.

I went over with a housewarming gift this weekend, and it wasn't long before I got uncomfortable because of the stale air. I ended up spending just a little while at the apartment because the room was simply too hot, and there was no hope of a breeze.

On Monday, Jason asked if I was mad at him because I had left so abruptly the day before. I told him the truth: that his living room was just too hot, and I didn't want to stay there for any longer. He told me that he and his roommates had noticed this problem as well, and that they weren't sure what to do about the stationary air in the room.

They had tried putting electric fans on the floor, but those seemed to do little to make the living room more bearable. That's when I suggested that he use an oscillating pedestal fan. This appliance can move quite a lot of air because it is high enough off the ground to make almost any room more comfortable.

Jason liked my suggestion so much that he went out and bought one of these fans that night. Now his living room is the comfortable hang out spot that he and his roommates hoped it would be. 

Readying your house for a hurricane

My friend Samantha grew up in Florida, and she and her family have hurricane-proofing their house down to a science. They know to put the grill in the garage, close the storm shutters and wait until the hurricane passes.

But, not everyone understands how to be that prepared for the high winds and heavy rains these seasonal storms can bring.

Last year, when Hurricane Irene made its way up the East Coast, many people had questions concerning what precautions they should take to ready themselves for the storm. I was worried about my parents in New York and called my friend Samantha, thinking that since she had lived through so many storms, she must have some good advice.

Sam said that to prevent glass breakage, my parents should board up their windows. And since their house doesn't have working shutters, they took advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and had ⅝" plywood cut to fit over the glass.

Samantha told us that it is also important to bring in all lawn decorations and outdoor furniture, especially items on decks, as these can become very dangerous when they are picked up by a big gust of wind.

But, since her house has a built-in cooling system, Samantha wasn't sure what my parents should do about their window air conditioner. Mayor Bloomberg said that more people were likely to get hurt trying to uninstall the units than would get hurt if they stayed put, so theirs remained in the window.

My parents took Samantha's suggestions, made sure that they had a first aid kit and plenty of bottled water and waited for the storm to pass. They were lucky, and even though they were out of power for a few days, my parents' house weathered the hurricane very well.

Limiting the humidity in your apartment will make paint dry faster

Last year, when my roommates and I moved into our current apartment, it was in need of some serious sprucing up. We determined that painting would be our easiest and most affordable option for making the place feel like home. But, of course, it was stipulated in the lease that we would have to paint the walls back to white before we moved out.

Since all of us are planning on moving into a nicer place across town this September, my roommates and I spent the weekend packing and preparing ourselves for that harrowing day when Boston apartments change hands and the city streets become overrun with U-Haul vans. We're getting ready to paint tonight, but since we're supposed to be out by Friday, we're worried that the humid weather might prevent the paint from drying soon enough.

So, to escape all of the problems of moving out of an apartment while the walls are wet, I researched some ways I could make the paint dry faster. My roommates and I decided that painting should be one of the last things we do before we leave, considering that we would have to pack up all of our belongings anyway so that they weren't ruined.

First, I thought that perhaps I should use a fan pointed at the walls to expedite the drying, but some quick research told me that this could make the paint dry unevenly, and undo all of our effort.

But, I found a post from someone online that made a lot of sense to me. She suggested that I run an air conditioner or dehumidifier to help to take some moisture out of the air and let the walls faster.

Because we're so anxious to have the walls dry as quickly as possible, we are planning on using both. If we paint tonight, by the time we return from work tomorrow, our walls are expected to be back to their original white color, and dry as can be. 

Decorating a drab dorm room

My cousin Moira is starting college as a freshman at my alma mater this fall. So, as you can imagine, I'm very excited for her to work, play and study on my old stomping grounds, and I know that she's going to have a great four years.

Moira called me a few weeks ago, and she was nervous. But unlike many of her fellow freshmen, she wasn't nervous about wild parties or hard classes. She said that she has spent all of high school working to decorate her bedroom at home so that it exactly reflects her style, and now she's going to have to start all over in a dorm room.

Moira told me that she isn't used to living anywhere but her comfortable home. She doesn't know what she's going to do in a cinder block high rise that doesn't have air conditioning, when she's used to living in a nice suburban home with all of the amenities she needs. She hasn't ever shared a room before either, she's worried that her roommate won't share her taste.

I told her not to worry about the decorating until she gets there. After all, it's best that she just picks out bedding and other necessities in colors and designs that she likes, and to thinks about collaborating on walls when she sees what her roommate's style is. This is what I did with my freshman roommate, so many years ago, and it worked out really well. We got along better because we decorated the walls together, and we both felt represented because we each got to pick some things out by ourselves too.

But one thing that Moira won't be able to control is the temperature. The 18-story monstrosity she's moving into is known for its almost unbearably hot summer temperatures. I told Moira that she should invest in a high-powered electric fan for her room, not only will it keep her nice and cool, but she will get to know her neighbors as they come by to visit and cool off!

Use electric heaters to give your towels a hotel feel

Every time I stay in a nice hotel, my favorite part is the bathroom. Rather than stepping out of the shower into a steamy but somehow still cold room, and fumbling around for some cotton relief, the towels are right in reach, and they're dependably nice and warm. I have always longed to bring this kind of luxury back from vacation.

When I recently returned from a trip to Newport, RI, I decided that I just couldn't live without heated towels any longer. I looked around on DIY websites to see if there were any good ideas, but a lot of them involved complicated tasks too lofty for my skill level.

I was also worried about putting anything down directly on a radiator, since I certainly don't want to cause a fire hazard in my own apartment. I thought about it for a few days, but I was at a loss. I was beginning to think I might just never achieve my dream of this kind of opulence! But, then I had an idea.

I didn't have to do any complicated construction projects: All I needed was a towel bar and a portable electric heater. I found a good place in my bathroom for the unit, and plugged it in. Then I set up the bar on the wall, safely over the heater, high enough so that any hanging towels won't touch it.

Now, on chilly days when I long for something cozy, I just hang up a towel, and turn on the electric heater. Since heat rises, it goes straight onto the towel, warming it nicely and making my house feel as luxurious as a hotel every day. 

Consider the temperature when you’re planning a wedding

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the wedding of a close family friend and his college sweetheart. My entire family was excited about the union of our beloved friends, my sister and I even bought new dresses for the event.

The ceremony was beautiful. It was an outdoor event, taking place in a park right on the water. While Martin and Dana exchanged vows, boats sailed behind them, and the final rays from the setting sun shone on the beautiful couple as they walked up the aisle arm in arm, taking their first steps as man and wife.

The reception was in a screened-in gazebo steps away from the beautiful lawn where the pair got married. But even though delicious passed hors d'oeuvres, dinner, open bar and dance floor enticed guests to stay late into the night, the chilly temperature of the gazebo made most people leave the joyous nuptials by 10 p.m.

In my opinion, people would have stayed much longer at their otherwise very fun reception if the bride and groom had remembered to consider the temperature on even the nicest of summer evenings. A few electric heaters could have been used and would have gone a long way toward encouraging guests to dance the night away at this wedding.

If you are planning on having a wedding outside or in a screened-in area like my friends Martin and Dana, do yourself a favor and look into electric heaters for the space. These items are relatively low cost and can make an outdoor space much more comfortable during the late evening. It is a simple thing to do, but you and your guests will be much more comfortable with this minor addition, plus, newlyweds can add these to their home so that they'll be comfortable for years to come.

Consider the temperature when you’re planning a wedding

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the wedding of a close family friend and his college sweetheart. My entire family was excited about the union of our beloved friends, my sister and I even bought new dresses for the event.

The ceremony was beautiful. It was an outdoor event, taking place in a park right on the water. While Martin and Dana exchanged vows, boats sailed behind them, and the final rays from the setting sun shone on the beautiful couple as they walked up the aisle arm in arm, taking their first steps as man and wife.

The reception was in a screened-in gazebo steps away from the beautiful lawn where the pair got married. But even though delicious passed hors d'oeuvres, dinner, open bar and dance floor enticed guests to stay late into the night, the chilly temperature of the gazebo made most people leave the joyous nuptials by 10 p.m.

In my opinion, people would have stayed much longer at their otherwise very fun reception if the bride and groom had remembered to consider the temperature on even the nicest of summer evenings. A few electric heaters could have been used and would have gone a long way toward encouraging guests to dance the night away at this wedding.

If you are planning on having a wedding outside or in a screened-in area like my friends Martin and Dana, do yourself a favor and look into electric heaters for the space. These items are relatively low cost and can make an outdoor space much more comfortable during the late evening. It is a simple thing to do, but you and your guests will be much more comfortable with this minor addition, plus, newlyweds can add these to their home so that they'll be comfortable for years to come.